COUNSELING FOR FATHERS
Has your relationship with your partner changed since becoming a father?
Do you find you are in a bad mood or feel irritated more often?
Worried that you’re going to make the same mistakes your parents made?
Are you unsure how to be the father you want to be?
Afraid you’ll just always be an anxious dad - not knowing what to do?
Counseling for New Dads Might Be Just What You Need!
Yes. New Dads Need Therapy for Depression and Anxiety Too.
1 in 10 dads experience paternal postpartum depression and anxiety.
We don't talk about paternal postpartum depression and anxiety very much. Postpartum depression is conceptualized as a hormonal imbalance new moms experience after giving birth. But hormones are only one competent of postpartum depression.
Welcoming a new family member who needs ALL of their needs met by someone else is a HUGE transition. And it takes a toll on the whole family. Many find that the dynamics of the house shift tremendously when a new baby is born and this can cause anxiety and depression to develop. Your usual outlets to cope might be temporarily unavailable. So anger and frustration develop with the one you love the most.
While depression for new moms is likely to develop early during the postpartum weeks and months, for new dads, it could take longer to develop or to be identified in dads. We know from research that 1 in 5 fathers experience an episode of depression before their child’s 12th birthday. The risk of developing depression is also increased by 68% during your child’s first five years of life.
YOUR SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY MIGHT FEEL PHYSICAL
Anxiety often manifests in your body. You might have trouble sleeping, or feel frequent body pains. You might also feel weak or tired, have headaches, or gastrointestinal problems.
You might also hyperventilate, sweat, tremble or have a rapid heart rate. Moreover, you might often feel nervous or irritable along with a sense of impending danger or doom.
All aspects of your life are impacted when you feel anxious. Tension with your partner builds and might boil over. Pressure at work also can feel unmanageable at a time when you feel you must succeed. Rather than feeling grounded in the present moment, you may project worst-case scenarios of the future that leave you distressed and disconnected from how you want to feel. You could feel robbed of joy and want to return to a sense of well-being.
The good news is, there are effective ways to manage your mental and physical distress. With anxiety treatment, you can learn how to reframe your negative thoughts and slow down your racing mind.
WHEN DAD FEELS SAD OR ANXIOUS,
THE WHOLE FAMILY IS IMPACTED.
When a baby is born, the dynamics of the house shift. Communication becomes triangular rather than simply back and forth between two people. Fathers tend to feel overwhelming pressure when they have children to perform at work and provide for their families. They also feel they need to be there to support their partner as she adjusts to her role as a mother. For many men, their primary social support is their partner. When your primary social support is consumed most hours of the day caring for a newborn, it is natural to feel left out, overshadowed or forgotten.
If dad is not feeling like himself and instead is feeling anxious or sad, that has an impact on both mom and baby. Anxious dads also tend to have anxious children. The anxiety is learned. Treating your anxiety now can help you not model and pass it on to your child.
MOM MIGHT ALSO BE DEPRESSED OR ANXIOUS.
IF THAT IS THE CASE, PLEASE DON'T DELAY AND REACH OUT TODAY.
Fathers are also at an increased risk of developing paternal postpartum depression when the mother is also experiencing depression. When both parents are experiencing postpartum depression (also known as dual postpartum depression), there is a strong negative impact of the overall familial unit. Research indicates that babies are less likely to be breastfed and less likely to be put to sleep on their backs when a family is experiencing dual postpartum depression. Verbal developmental delays in children has also been associated with untreated dual postpartum depression.
Untreated paternal postpartum depression can also have an impact on the bond you build with your child and it is associated with increased incidents of spanking and an increase in diagnoses of emotional issues, hyperactivity disorders and social problems elementary school children.
Many Dads Don't Get Help. They Stay Stuck In Anxiety.
Whether you are a father experiencing depression or anxiety or you are simply unsure of how to support your partner who may have postpartum depression herself, counseling is a very effective way to get help as a new parent. The unfortunate situation, however, is that most dads are unable to see that they are depressed or are unwilling to get help if they recognize there is an issue.
Our culture has taught men that they are supposed to be the problem solvers but also tells them they should solve it on their own. Men tend towards trying to figure a problem out on their own first before turning to outside help. But postpartum depression is nothing to mess around with.
Depression can have an impact on your work performance, your relationship with your partner, and your bonding and attachment with your child. Depression is not something anyone can ever prepare for and it comes out of left field.
I'VE NEVER BEEN IN THERAPY BEFORE.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT?
In our work together, you will find that you have someone in your corner backing you as you work through the mixed bag of emotions you are feeling. You will find unconditional support that validates and supports you where you are as a father. We will also work to help you find ways to not only help yourself, but also understand what your partner may be experiencing and how you can best help her as well. Many couples struggle in their relationship during this time and intimacy feels like it is last on the list, particularly if both are feeling the effects of depression. Our work together will focus on how to communicate your emotions effectively with your partner and how to maintain intimacy in your relationship.
We will focus on helping you take back control of your emotions and the situation and help you to find peace with the present. We will explore how to take care of yourself and your relationship during this time of transition. You will gain tools to help you cope with upsetting emotions and help seeing situations from a different perspective. You will learn to feel more in control of your emotions, rather than feeling like your emotions are controlling you.
As a licensed professional who is also a parent, you will find that I bring my real self and experiences into therapy. I understand what it is to go through this time in your life. I am very thankful that I have my training from graduate school to rely on as I navigate parenthood because, lets face it, parenting is hard. I continue to use these tools as I make various parenting decisions. It is now my humble calling to help disseminate these tools to parents to help them too feel confident and able.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and lost as you welcome a new baby into your family, I am here to help. You will find the support and validation you have not found from your usual support system. Counseling can help you survive this time in your life and embrace your future with open arms. Sometimes, all you need is a little help picking yourself up and then you are off to the races again.
CBT Can Help Ease Your Symptoms of Anxiety
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is highly effective. It helps you untangle the web of thoughts created by anxiety. The premise of CBT is that your thoughts create certain feelings and your feelings guide certain behaviors. These behaviors then reinforce thoughts. To help tackle anxiety, we will start at the source - your thoughts. We will discover that you don't have to believe everything you think. We will also work to identify patterns in your thoughts. Common patterns include:
all or nothing thinking
There are other, but these are the most common. Our work will look at these patterns and search for the truth in the matter. Once we tackle your thoughts in this manner, the feelings and the behaviors follow, leading to you feeling more like your normal self.
I often tell my clients that there is nothing they can tell me that I have not either felt and experienced myself or heard before. I understand you. I got you. Together, we can find your joy again.
STILL HAVE MORE QUESTIONS TO DETERMINE IF ANXIETY THERAPY FOR NEW DADS IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
I SHOULD BE ABLE TO FIGURE THIS OUT ON MY OWN.
Many of my clients are new to therapy for anxiety. They are highly successful is all other areas of their life but are finding parenthood to be overwhelming. The truth is, it is impossible to have all of the answers to everything all the time. You are, after all, simply human. The postpartum period is tough for both mom and dad. You are experiencing a level of stress unlike anything you have ever experienced before. I will work with you in a solution-focused manner to help you learn the skills you have not been taught, helping you learn to surmount depression with patience and perseverance. I want to help you feel better as soon as possible.
HOW CAN A WOMAN RELATE TO ME AS A FATHER?
It is important that you choose to work with a therapist that you feel understands you fully and that you feel you can work with regarding your concerns. For some, that may be a therapist of the same gender, however, others find they relate better with a therapist of the opposite gender. I can assure you that I understand how difficult it is for fathers to transition into their new role and the techniques and strategies I teach apply to both men and women.
I HAVE SO LITTLE FREE TIME.
Time is one of the single most limiting factors that stop people from getting help when they are feeling down. That is why I decided to offer shorter, 30-minute session times. After the initial evaluation session and an additional 1-2 getting to know each other session (which are standard 45-55 minutes), we can discuss if 30-minute sessions would be appropriate.
I also work to keep treatment brief and focused, and only as often as is clinically necessary. Once we determine you are finding the relief you have been searching for, we can discuss how to maintain these gains and can begin spacing out sessions to a couple of times a month.
I also offer online therapy - available anywhere, anytime with convenience in mind.
I AM A VERY PRIVATE PERSON AND FIND IT HARD TO OPEN UP.
So am I. I get that it can be incredibly difficult to talk to a stranger about things you find hard to tell even your closest friend or partner. We will go at your pace and only talk about what is top of mind for you. This is your counseling after all and it will focus on helping you achieve your goals. You may even find that it is easier to open up once we get started. Many people tell me that I am easy to talk to.